It might get a little complicated to choose longboards for heavy riders and big guys. There are loads of longboards in the market but trust me, not all of them are suitable for heavier people out there. I am a pretty big guy myself – 210 pounds and 6.3 feet. And when I was buying my few first longboards I got lost in the variety and getting any good advice was a bit difficult. In this post I will outline what is important to look for when picking a board and I will provide my list of top longboards for heavy riders and big guys.
For those who do not to read the full post, my top picks are Landyachtz Switch and Sector 9 Meridian. For those who are more in to details – stay tuned. This post is made of two main parts:
1) Decks, trucks, bushings and wheels – what is important to look for when choosing a longboard for a heavier rider
2) Best longboards for heavy riders and big guys – review of boards which I had pleasure to try and which I know are highly regarded in the community
Decks, trucks, bushings and wheels – what is important to look for when choosing a longboard for a heavier rider
So when it comes to picking a longboard, the most important parts of the longboard to check out are the deck, trucks, bushings and its’ wheels. They define how durable, fast, comfortable and maneuvering your board will be. Now, don’t get overwhelmed with details below. Usually if you pick a complete longboard by a well-known brand – so a longboard which has all of the parts assembled already, the parts will be high quality and suitable for riding. But I need you to know what to look at when choosing longboards for heavy riders so here we go.
There are a few important characteristics of the deck which you need to consider before choosing one. Especially if you are a heavier rider.
1) Material that deck is made of and amount of layers:
The material of which the deck is made of and amount of layers it is made of will define how durable the deck will be. Usually the amount of layers (called plys in the longboarding community) can range from 3 plys to 12. But if you are a heavier rider, you must look for a deck with at least 8 plys or more so it does not brake easily because of the weight.
When it comes to material you will usually find decks made of maple, bamboo or hybrid with fiberglass. Bamboo deck is more flexible compared maple deck but because of this quality it can also cause so called “Death wobbles” if you are riding at higher speeds. On the other hand, boards made of maple are more stiff, heavy and they are usually made for downhill and higher speeds. Hybrid decks are made from fiberglass and one other material like bamboo or maple. These decks have similar characteristics to bamboo decks but they are a bit more durable.
2) Height of the deck – prone to wheelbite or not?
Because you are a heavier rider, you should also keep in mind that if you and a 100 lbs. lighter person ride the same longboard, you are the one who is more prone to wheelbite. Your weight will turn the same board more compared to the lighter person and there is a risk that the deck might touch the wheels of the board which results in wheelbite. You can pick a higher setup board to avoid this. But if you want a lower and stable board – pick one with wheel wells, flares or wheel cutouts. Check the picture of one of my decks, they have wheel flares to avoid the wheelbite.
3) Length of the deck
Something to consider before buying a deck is its’ length. Usually heavier riders are also a bit taller (of course not always the case). You have to make sure that the deck is not too short for you – if it is too short, it will be complicated to maneuver the board. There might be some cases where people ride shorter longboards. But I would not choose anything below 36 inches because of my height, especially for beginner riders.
Trucks are also important when picking your board. There are loads of different trucks on the market and we will not deep dive in to details here but you have to know one main principle. For heavy riders, trucks should be made of durable materials which can handle the weight. You should make sure if trucks are made of aluminum and steel. Do not buy a longboard with plastic and nylon trucks materials because these might crack when you ride your longboard.
Bushings usually are an overlooked part of the longboard but they are really important when it comes to heavier riders. If you pick bushings which are too soft you will lose the stability of your board and risk falling and injuring yourself. So check the hardness (durometer) of the bushings before buying the board or just get a new set afterwards. Generally, if your weight is 170 lbs. and more, you should go for bushings with a durometer of 93a. If you want more flex setup, you could go with 91a bushings. If you want more of a stiff ride, then you could go with 97a+. But don’t go below 90a.
There is not much complexity when picking wheels for a heavy rider. You just have to make sure that the wheels are not too soft or too hard. If they are too soft, the rider’s weight might compress them too much and might make the ride unstable. If the wheels are too hard the ride can become bumpy and not too comfortable. A good rule when picking wheels for a heavy rider to target wheel durometer (hardness) of 78A – 80A.
Similarly to trucks and wheels, there is not much you have to look at when picking bearings for a heavy rider. Just make sure that bearings are made of steel and high quality materials.
Best longboards for heavy riders and big guys
Alright, let’s get down to the list of best suitable longboards for the heavier folks out there. Initially I wanted to make a top3 list here but I’ll keep it as an ‘open’ list – I’ll add new boards here if I see something worth checking out for you.
Let me start by saying that Landyachtz overall is really one of the best longboard brands out there. They produce highest quality boards. Landyachtz Switch is no exception. The deck is made of 9 plys of maple, it is 40 inches long and 10 inches wide – perfect for a bigger rider. The deck also has a dropped platform so it is very stable to ride on. Because it is a drop through deck you will not have a risk of a wheelbite.
This board comes with Bear Grizzly 852 trucks which are well-rounded, durable and valued in the longboarding community. The set also comes with Hawgs Mini Monster 78a wheels which will hold good for a heavier rider and BON Abec 7 bearings which are a standard choice for quite a few boards.
The only thing you might want to upgrade for this board is the bearings – for starting out the factory set will be ok. But if you want to go even faster, you will most likely have to check out other top bearings in the market like Bones Red and Zealous.
Click here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews
Sector 9 Meridian
This board is suitable for both bombing hills, freeride and slides. Let’s start with the deck. Sector 9 Meridian is equipped with 8 ply Maple deck. It is 40 inches long and 9.75 inches wide which is perfect for bigger riders out there. It is also a drop through mount so it will add stability to your ride.
Meridian comes with Gullwing 10.0“trucks which are durable and will provide added stability to your ride because of the width of the trucks. The set also includes Sector 9 70mm TS (Top Shelf) Nineball Longboard wheels which are great for cruising, carving and freeride. Bearings of the board are also quite impressive for an of the shelf model – Abec 5 Greaseball. These bad boys are solid bearings which will last a long time & they are really fast compared to standard bearings in other complete sets of longboards.
A word of caution – although Sector 9 Meridian is a board worth checking out, the deck is made of 8 plys of Maple. So if you are a rider over 230 lbs. you should check some other boards in my list. But if you are below 230 lbs. then consider this board as one of the best choices out there, especially keeping in mind its’ lower price compared to others.
Click here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews
The third board we are looking at comes from Omen – another reputable brand in the longboard market. Barbarian is a real tank, it is extremely durable and stiff. The board is great for commuting and sliding. It is the first Omen model with a carbon fiber deck. The deck is 38.5 inches long and 9.75 inches wide – plenty for a taller rider. The deck is also dropped one inch to provide stability and it has wheel cutouts to avoid the wheelbite.
Omen barbarian has Paris 50 reverse kingpin trucks on it. These trucks are durable and reliable, great for heavier rider. The board is also equipped with 70mm Free Spirits wheels which are great for freeriding and are hard enough for heavier riders. Free Quickees bearings has spacers built-in in them which ensure tight feel between the bearings and the wheels.
Overall, the Barbarian is valued in the longboard community and is a great choice. Check out a longboard rider shredding on the Barbarian.
Landyachtz Drop Carve
Here we have another Landyachtz board and it’s a great one – the Drop Carve. It is made of fiberglass and bamboo which provides flexibility but is quite durable. The deck is 40 inches long and 8.6 inches wide so again, great for taller riders. It is a drop through with wheel cutouts so you do not have to worry about the wheelbite.
Drop Carve is equipped with Bear Grizzly 852 trucks, Bear Space Balls Abec 7 bearings and Mini Zombie 86a wheels. Trucks and wheels will provide you with a smooth and reliable ride while Space Balls bearings will provide you the speed.
Drop Carve is a decent choice for heavier riders, the only thing which might need upgrading in the long run are the bearings. Although they are fast, they might deteriorate quickly because of the weight.
Click here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews
Enjoy the ride
I hope that now you will be more confident when choosing a board for yourself. Especially If you are starting out, generally go for the boards by better brands in the market, you won’t miss. Just make sure to check characteristics important for heavier riders so you can enjoy a smooth and safe ride.